Best Places to Visit in West Midlands
To be fair, the West Midlands is not a tourist destination. But despite the more charming cities, Birmingham has enjoyable nightlife, rich culture and more shopping. Also, note that the massive Indian contingent provided Birmingham with some of the best curry houses in the country and invented the “balti”. Since the birth of coal mines, lime kilns and metalworks in the 1700s, this part of England has been more concerned with chimneys than the countryside.
However, you shouldn’t ignore black country if the industrial revolution has piqued your interest, as towns like Dudley have preserved their old bakeries and factories to bring home the realities of life back then. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in West Midlands and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in West Midlands
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in West Midlands:
Often referred to as the capital of the black nation, Dudley Town was nearly ground zero during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Limestone quarries, furnaces, and ironworks turned Dudley into an industrial giant who made chains and anchors for the Titanic.
You can dig deeper at the Black Village Life Museum, where workers’ huts, shops, cobblestones, lime kilns and blacksmiths are frozen in time. Also worth your time is the Dudley Tunnel, the UK’s second longest canal tunnel at around 4 km. Older history is also represented by the haunting ruins of 13th-century Dudley Castle and 12th-century Dudley Abbey.
The posh southern suburbs of Birmingham was where the novelist Tolkien lived as a teenager. Often tree-lined lanes, Victorian mansions and grand homes are a long drive from the road. Edgbaston is an upscale residential area, but there’s no shortage of reasons to visit.
In the spring and summer, the typical English Games offer cricket at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, home to Warwickshire Cricket Club, where England plays one- and five-day matches. You can see various paintings by Rembrandt, Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso at the Barber School of Fine Arts, which is in the second year of decorative arts.
The city of Birmingham, affectionately known as ‘Bloom’, was never known for its looks, but thanks to the renovation of its center and a massive canal system, England’s second city is now seen differently. Even before this makeover, Birmingham was loved for its nightlife, eateries (especially Indian food in the “Balt Triangle”) and shopping.
You could say the city was the workshop of the Industrial Revolution, and if you’re curious about this period, try Soho House, the home of 18th-century entrepreneur Matthew Boulton. This is one of many fascinating museums that deals with the wealth created by the industry, or what it was like for workers.
Like Birmingham, Coventry’s factories destroyed the city during World War II. It made it a target to be bombed in World War II. This is known to have destroyed the Gothic Coventry Cathedral, leaving the hollow walls, towers and spires as monuments. Coventry also has historical ties to automobile production, particularly for domestic brands such as Jaguar and Rover.
You can learn about the history of automobile production at the Coventry Transport Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of British road vehicles. Planes have also been assembled in Coventry since the early days of manned flight: Frank Whittle, the inventor of the jet engine, was born in Coventry.
5. Sutton Coldfield
Located a few miles west of Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield has always been a wealthy town. Landowners, nobles, and wealthy families who called Sutton Coldfield their “home” built luxury estates, many of which are now hotels, to make you feel like a lord for a night or two. The town has two conservation areas that manage cottages and townhouses from the 1600s and 1700s.
Sutton Coldfield is almost entirely surrounded by parks and nature reserves. In New Hall Valley Country Park is New Hall Mill, one of only two well-functioning watermills around Birmingham. Meanwhile, Sutton Park is one of the largest city parks in Europe, with 9 square kilometers of forest and heathland where wild ponies graze.
During the Industrial Revolution, Wolverhampton was known for coal mining, steelmaking and manufacturing, and engineering remains a cornerstone of the local economy. Not many consider the city a tourist destination, but almost anyone who comes here will be surprised by what Wolverhampton has to offer.
This is the case for a number of National Trust-owned mansions such as Old Mosley and Bosco Bell, both of which witnessed fascinating episodes of the English Civil War in the 17th century. At Bantock House, you can learn about the life of a significant other in Wolverhampton’s industrial age, or be influenced by Pop Art and Pre-Raphaelites at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Halesowen is home to many collieries and mines, and this is where nails were made as the industry grew. However, you’ll find the more romantic side of town at Grade I-listed Leasowes Park. This 57-hectare site is one of the first landscaped gardens in England, designed by poet William Shenstone in the mid-1700s.
The English Gardens we know are no older than this, and among the first visitors were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third Presidents of the United States. Halesowen also has a crumbling former abbey, which deteriorated after the abbey’s dissolution in 1530 and is now protected by English Heritage.
8. West Bromwich
While manufacturing in the UK has declined, chemistry and engineering remain West Bromwich’s main employers, just as they were in the 1700s. It’s a quiet town a few miles from the center of Birmingham but does a great job of preserving bits of its history.
There are two beautiful hedge and daub buildings, the West Bromwich Mansion, which originated in the 1200s, and the Oak House Museum, a restored farmer’s house built in the late 1500s. Local team West Bromwich Albion is the mainstay of the Premier League and was one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888.
Not far from Coventry, Berkswell is a very pretty village with cottages built in the 1600s and 1700s. Berkswell and its local hamlet are full of small but satisfying things to watch and enjoy. Visit the Norman Church of John the Baptist with a two-section cellar between the altar and the nave.
There is a medieval well in the churchyard and the “well” is located in Berxwell and the village green space is the main stockpile used to punish petty criminals. The Berkswell Windmill dates back to the 1830s and its original mechanisms are still in effect, and lastly, the 17th-century Ram Hall is now a dairy that makes sheep’s milk cheeses.
From the 1600s to the 20th century, the local trade in Stourbridge was glassmaking, which began when French Huguenots began working in the coal mines. The Red House Cone is one of the few remaining antique glassmaking furnaces that were in use until the 1930s.
The Red House Cone features traditional glassblowing demonstrations, and you can visit the Ruskin Glass Center and Broadfield House Glass Museum to see the Stourbridge Glass exhibit. Featuring one of the strangest properties in the National Trust inventory, Stourbridge, Kinver Edge and Rock Houses is a collection of former residences cut from the sandstone ridge beneath the ruins of an Iron Age hill fort.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in West Midlands. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in West Midlands, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.